Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

'however little or much one may know about Him'

Trust, however, implies reliance, commitment, and confidence in the objects... that one is trusting. An element of commitment must be present in trusting Christ for salvation, but it is a commitment to Him, His promise, and His ability to give eternal life to those who believe. The object of faith or trust is the Lord Jesus Christ, however little or much one may know about Him. The issue about which we trust Him is His ability to forgive our sins and take us to heaven.

This quote is from Charles Ryrie in his book, “So Great Salvation” (on page 111-12 or 121, depending on which version you have) and it is agreeable to me. I would personally word things a bit differently than he does. I believe that Charles Ryrie has fallen into the trap of the two-step, supposing that "trust" is a superior word to "believe".

What makes saving faith saving, folks? It is not some extra element added to belief or assent that makes it "super faith". What makes saving faith saving is the object, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ has eternally inexhuastable riches and grace at His disposal. Furthermore, He is qualified and able to eternally save by virtue of His deity, death and resurrection. To add to this, He is willing to give eternal life to all who simply believe in Him.

When it comes to conversations in social settings, I tell people that the two subjects that I enjoy discussing the most are 1) things pertaining to God and the Bible and 2) food. My wife is the Executive Training Coordinator for a chain of gourmet seafood restaurants in San Diego where she is in charge of all the front-end training in their 12 restaurants. As an executive she gets 50% off her party’s bill. It doesn’t matter if it is we two or a group of 15, we get 50% off. I love that, let me tell you friends! I can have gourmet food at half the price! I can get a dozen oysters on the half shell for the price of 6. I am in hog heaven. But I digress. Anyway, on to an illustration.

Let us say that I was walking down the street and someone offered me a free gourmet meal at Tavern on the Green. If I were persuaded that this man could get me a free meal, and I had the time, I surely would take him up on his offer. Something about the man must convince me that he is telling the truth or I would not believe him. Let us say that he was standing out front of the restaurant called Tavern on the Green and what it was that persuaded me to believe in him, that he was authorized, able, and willing to give me a meal absolutely free, was the location where I found him and the clothing he was wearing. Let me explain. He was standing out in front of Tavern on the Green and was wearing a nice, crisp, dress shirt with the “Tavern on the Green” logo, and black, well creased dress slacks.

What persuaded me that this man could give me an absolutely free meal were his physical location and his attire. That is all! I didn’t know anything else about this person but that. But that was all that it took to persuade me that he was telling me the truth and could give me a free meal. I went in and enjoyed a free meal. I did come to find out later that this man was the owner of the restaurant, and some other pertinent facts about him.

Lets rework this illustration a bit. Let us now say that this man who was offering the free meal stated that he was the owner of the restaurant, up front, and explained (after showing his ownership credentials of some form or another) that the restaurant was celebrating its 25th year in business and that he wanted to grace several people with a free meal. I would know much more about this person that was offering this free gift. Still, I went in and had a wonderful time eating a free gourmet meal.

In both of these illustrations, I relied upon the man out front of the restaurant for the free gift he was offering, however little or much I may have known about him. Charles Ryrie states “The object of faith or trust is the Lord Jesus Christ, however little or much one may know about Him.” I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. When the lost read of Jesus in the gospel of John stating that He is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to the believer, and believe in Him as such, Christ saves them, however little or much one may know about Him.

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him (pisteuo eis) because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." – John 4:39 (NKJV)

Many of the Samaritans of Sychar “believed in” (pisteuw eis) Jesus based solely on the testimony of the immoral and adulterous woman, who stated, “Can this be the Christ?” and said, “He told me all that I ever did” (see Jn 4:29). They did not know much about Jesus, but the text clearly shows that they exercised saving faith, for it used John’s unique technical phraseology which denotes saving faith everywhere else in his gospel: pisteou eis.

In my first illustration, little did I know that the man offering the free gift of a gourmet meal was the owner of the restaurant. But I believed in him and got a free meal. It turns out that the reason that he was qualified to give such a wonderful gift was that he was the owner who was celebrating 25 years of ownership of that restaurant and was inclined to do something special for a few people.

The one who is uniquely identified as Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, descending from the line of David, and hailing from the tribe of Judah:

1) is God in the flesh
2) died a substitutionary death on the cross for the sins of the world
3) rose again bodily from the dead

In addition to this, He performed great miracles, raised the dead, exercised compassion on the lost, preached good news, taught about God, never sinned, etc.

But Jesus also did something else. He solemnly testified to the fact that He gives life to whomever He wills (Jn 5:21). As such, He determined to give everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him (Jn 1:12; 3:15-16; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 11:25-26). Jesus has the words of eternal life (Jn 6:68)! He said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life!” (Jn 6:63).

Jesus makes the radical claim (!!):

“Most solemnly I assert to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life!” (Jn 6:47)

Jesus is no liar. He has the words of eternal life. His words are spirit and they are life. He has offered the world an absolutely free gift: eternal life, and has stipulated but one condition for its reception: believing in Him. He will never fail anyone who trusts in Him for that which He freely offers. Jesus can never fall short of His promise.

Whether I knew it or not, the man in my illustration was the owner of the restaurant. I believed him in his offer, took him up on it, and he made good. Jesus will always make good on His promise that whosoever believes in Him has eternal life and will be resurrected, “however little or much one may know about Him”.

8 Comments:

Blogger alvin said...

Amen Antonio

And I sure would like to be in hog-heaven with you!!! I love sea food!!!
I agree 100%
Knetkight sent me an e-mail wanting my input pretty much on this subject and why he had rejected it. I'm sure you got one too. He pretty much said that 1 Cor 1:17-25 had convinced him that what we believe is false. This was my reply to those verses:
Good morning Stephen
[...]
I believe the point is that the door is wide open to those who come in child like dependency. They can come right in and crawl up on Jesus lap and He will give them that living water (Rev 22:17).

We can’t say to them “you don’t know enough, so you can’t come.”

No one can come in their wisdom, only in child like dependency. They believe that He is able to save them to the uttermost.

Were not to be like Jesus disciples who wanted to keep them from coming to Jesus, just like they were as “children.”

The door is always open to those who come like that. No matter what little bit of knowledge they might have, they see their need and Christ sufficiency that is what matters.
I finished my reply with Mark 10:13-16 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of God.
“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

Antonio I believe Jesus is greatly displeased with this checklist these men subscibe to and is an elitist spirit not a childlike spirit.

alvin

May 25, 2008 4:36 PM  
Blogger Katherine Gunn said...

Antonio~

I discovered you through Rose - then LM - and decided to see what all the 'bruhaha' was about. I'm glad I did. ;-)

Very well and concisely stated.

It's not about a list of rules or steps that must be followed - do this, in this order... weariness. *sigh* It is about a simple shift of the heart - faith - trust - belief in the One - the Man called Jesus.

Peace,
Katherine

May 25, 2008 11:56 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi Katherin Gunn, (not your real name),

I appreciate your patronage here at Free Grace Theology blog.

Simplicity is at the very heart of Christ's message to the lost.

Antonio

May 27, 2008 3:28 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Alvin, thanks for your comments.

May 27, 2008 3:29 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

This morning on the way to work the sky was filled with the Glory of the Lord! In the north there was quite a contrast between powerful storm clouds and in the east soft gentle clouds with clear sky in-between. It reminded me of our Lord's attributes He is all powerful but yet so gentle. I'm so thankful that I have felt His gentle hand upon my life, I know that I deserve His anger and wrath but yet He treats me with gentleness.
Then in the west there was a rainbow which shot straight up into the sky, I could not see the end but it reminded me of His promises. Anyone coming to Him in child like faith will not be turned away. The Jesus who came riding gentle upon a donkey's colt also said "Most assuredly I tell you he who believes in Me has eternal life." Just as His covenant in the sky I could not see the end but am persuaded that what Jesus has promised is true. There is nothing we can do to deserve His gift but must take it with the hand of a child.

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
And let him who hears say, “Come!”
And let him who thirsts come.
Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Rev 22:17

I love the words to a song that Steve Green wrote:

If stars can find a way to tell the glory of there King

And if the very firmament can find a way to sing

How can I keep silent then and not burst into song

In praise of my Redeemer who loved me all along

Then Lord I've got to praise You

Oh Lord I will praise You

My voice will join the chorus that all creation sings

Praise You

Oh Lord I will praise You!

alvin

May 27, 2008 7:12 PM  
Blogger Katherine Gunn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 27, 2008 9:56 PM  
Blogger Katherine Gunn said...

(Sorry about the above. It was full of typos I missed...)

Antonio,

Thanks for the welcome. I agree. I seem to remember Jesus saying something to the effect that it was so simple a child could understand...

Hmm... another passage comes to mind...

"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you." (NKJV)

Jesus said this to His disciples just before they went to Gethsemane. Hmm... They did not yet understand what the words meant - He had not yet even gone to the cross, but they believed He could give them life... Something to think on? ;-)

May 27, 2008 9:57 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Antonio, very good parallel.
I would like to make a comment about how Lordship Salvation teachers view whether one has believed the man out in front of the restaurant. In your story you WENT IN to the restaurant. We "go into the restaurant" by living according to the promise given. If you said you believed the man, and indeed you were hungry, and like the food served, but did not go in to the restaurant, what would you say as to whether you "really believed him?" This is their ploy in what it means to "believe in
Jesus for Eternal Life." They say, well IF you really believe Him, then you will live accordingly, (i.e., in your story, you will go in and eat at the restaurant.) If you don't go in, then you really never believed.

This can be expanded a little more. Suppose that instead of "going in to have a nice meal," you were
going to be the meal. This corresponds to the situation of the Christians who rather than denying Christ were eaten by lions, or in today's time, suffer great persecution even to torture and death.

All of these situations really correspond to some form of "commitment," don't they? Even your
story of eating at the restaurant.

If a person believes in Christ alone for eternal life will he still not fear death, supposing that such death was imminent? As a person matures in Christ I would suppose that he would come to a point where he has no fear of death. And what is probably the true case is that one may fear death itself, the pain, suffering, etc., and since he has believed he does not fear what comes after death.

To me a major part of believing in Christ for eternal life is the conviction of the Holy Spirit before such faith. He has convinced me that there is no other way. Not only does Christ have the "words of Eternal Life" but His conviction of sin in my life makes it imperative that salvation is needed and comes
by grace through promise.

Hope someone gets what I am saying here.

Gary

June 04, 2008 6:44 PM  

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